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Marion Anthony Zioncheck

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1933 – August 7, 1936
Preceded by Ralph Horr
Succeeded by Warren G. Magnuson

Born December 5, 1901 (1901-12-05)
Kęty, Poland (then Austro-Hungarian Empire)
Died August 7, 1936 (1936-08-08) (age 34)
Seattle, Washington, United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Rubye Louise Nix

Marion Anthony Zioncheck (December 5, 1901 – August 7, 1936), an American politician, served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1933 until his death in 1936. He represented Washington's 1st congressional district as a Democrat.

Zioncheck was born in Kęty, Poland, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and arrived in Seattle, Washington with his parents four years later. He attended the University of Washington where in 1927 he became president of the student government ( ASUW ). He also earned a law degree from the University of Washington while making a name for himself as a left-wing leader in the Democratic Party and the Washington Commonwealth Federation, which supported his election to Congress in the 1932 election.



As a U.S. Representative, Zioncheck was known mostly for ardently championing Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal policies. But his tireless work in behalf of the New Deal often was overshadowed by his many personal escapades, which included dancing in fountains and driving on the White House lawn. Beset by the press and by critics of Roosevelt's policies, Zioncheck became depressed and hinted that he might not seek reelection to a third term in 1936.

Zioncheck's friend and ally, King County Prosecutor Warren G. Magnuson, took him at his word and filed to run for Zioncheck's seat on August 1.


Zioncheck died after plummeting to the sidewalk from a window of his office on the fifth floor of the Arctic Building, at 3rd Avenue and Cherry Street in downtown Seattle, on August 7, 1936.[1] He struck the pavement directly in front of a car occupied by his wife, Rubye Louise Nix. A note was found; it read (ungrammatically, perhaps from being hastily written), My only hope in life was to improve the condition of an unfair economic system that held no promise to those that all the wealth of even a decent chance to survive let alone live.

To this day, some members of Zioncheck's family believe that he was murdered--pushed out the window--and that the note left was not written by him. A researcher studied body positions of people who jumped from high places versus those that were pushed. He concluded that Zioncheck was pushed because of his arms flailing in the air.

The Zioncheck relatives who believe in murder also point to several run-ins that he had with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover; once Zioncheck sent a truckload of manure to Hoover's front steps and had it dumped. The relatives believe Hoover was indirectly responsible.

Zioncheck was mourned at his early death; both the University of Washington and Boeing closed down for half a day in his honor. He is buried in Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle.

References in Popular Culture

The Zioncheck story has been researched by Darryl Beckmann and Allen Hoss, family members in the Seattle area. Zioncheck also is the subject of an unpublished book-length poem by Grant Cogswell, entitled 'Ode to Congressman Marion Zioncheck'. The obsession of Cogswell (a failed Seattle politician himself) with Zioncheck's career is detailed in Phillip Campbell's 2005 book Zioncheck for President: A True Story of Idealism and Madness in American Politics (Nation Books; ISBN 1560257504). The option to make Campbell's book into a feature film was purchased in 2007 by producer/director Stephen Gyllenhaal.


  1. ^ Connelly, Joel (November 19, 1999). "Turbulent years churned out lasting leaders". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved April 10, 2009.  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ralph Horr
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1933-August 7, 1936
Succeeded by
Warren G. Magnuson

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